Our ethical concerns are not merely just the products of what culture we were raised in.
Each one of us possess ethical and moral intuitions that have been hard wired into us.
Our concerns with right versus wrong are rooted in our biology. What is important to each of us in ethical and moral terms become massively empowered by our ability to speak, write and use language.
Whether we are the writer or the reader, the speaker or the listener, the vehicle of language, when operated intelligently, can drive us to expand our moral boundaries beyond our own family and friends and beyond our own species to embrace all other sentient creatures.
Cowboy at Animal Acres
Yet it is also language that empowers our hatred, prejudices, and ignorance. Sadly, when abusive thoughts produce abusive language, those who accept the words can be incited to demonize, to destroy -- even to murder innocent victims.
In other words, language can either be used to begin violence or to end it.
Most of the cruelty and killing we commit against the other animals is due to the speciesist vocabulary that we unwittingly employ every day.
Mere words can make nonhumans unimportant or invisible. Think of how often humans refer to nonhumans, whose gender we probably know, as an "it" instead of "him" or "her."
This is a simple way to reduce someone to an object rather than a person and to diminish who they are as living individuals. (All living animals are someones as well as persons.)
What does it mean when we call another human a pig or a chicken or a cow?
The mere fact that these names are considered deep insults when we use them in reference to human animals reveals a tragic insight into the way in which non humans are routinely perceived and treated through words alone.
But while language exposes severe prejudices, it also has the power to change peoples lives for the better.
Compassion and empathy can be deeply communicated through words which might enable people to feel love for others where they had shut down before.
Language written or spoken can be that external something that might provide insight in our minds and hearts. Words which are felt are like thoughts that find our emotions and can provide the opportunity to transform us forever.
Photo: Vanessa Woods. Lomela and Mwanda at Lolaya Bonobo sanctuary
Countless "Aha" moments that have changed our planet for the better have come about simply from words, spoken or written. From language properly used.
If you are an animal activist, there is no better way to share your wisdom and emotions with others than the words that fill this comprehensive new website....
This compilation of moving and thoughtful quotes from deeply compassionate and deeply reasonable thinkers throughout the ages was edited and compiled by SBH Clay. It is a wonderful read and a powerful tool to reinvigorate yourself with brilliant words in the defense of freedom and equality for all species.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In that case, the plethora of photos of beautiful animals in this online book is the equivalent of 500,000 words. The vocabulary spoken by the animal's eyes peering out from these virtual pages is certainly capable of warming many frozen hearts.
I urge everyone who takes animal liberation and animal advocacy seriously to bookmark this page immediately.
Having a resource such as this at one's fingertips will no doubt aid you in reaching out and touching everyone around you...for the animals.
Blackie at Animal Acres
Be a sanctuary with your words.